Kuwait pension fund files new complaint against wanted ex-chief

KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah has instructed the Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS) to continue looking into all works done during its former director-general’s term of office. His Highness the Prime Minister has also ordered that all violations in this regard be taken to the Public Prosecution, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al-Saleh said in a statement following a weekly Cabinet meeting.

PIFSS had said yesterday that it has lodged a fresh complaint against its former director general on grounds that he misappropriated public funds. The measure aims to protect public funds and is connected to a case involving the pension fund’s investment in Abraaj Holdings company, read a PIFSS statement. PIFSS has asked Abraaj Holdings to investigate any suspicious transactions with a link to its former director general, with the statement citing its incumbent chief Mishal Al-Othman as saying that the pension fund remains hot on the heels of the suspect. “We have closely monitored this despicable crime committed on our funds as we seek to unravel the network responsible for this,” Othman said, vowing to use any evidence against the suspect. In 2016, Kuwaiti officials accused him of using his position to embezzle vast sums of money, subsequently sentencing him to a 10-year prison term in absentia. An international arrest warrant has been issued against the former PIFSS chief.

At the onset of the meeting, the Cabinet listened to a briefing from Minister of Finance Naif Al-Hajraf on a complaint lodged by the PIFSS against its former chief as it was found out during a review of Abraaj Holdings company activities that he had obtained commissions and other benefits from entities linked to him.

The Cabinet then approved draft decrees for Kuwait-Malta cooperation in higher education and scientific research, Kuwait-Jordan cooperation in weather forecast and Kuwait-Dutch cooperation in air services. The ministers also consented to a draft law on Kuwaiti-Egyptian security cooperation, a draft law on Kuwait’s joining of a joint agreement for the safe disposal of radioactive waste, and a bill on trade navigation cooperation between Kuwait and Morocco. The Cabinet decided to task the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to speedily coordinate with the Ministries of Interior, Finance, Health, the Customs Directorate-General and Kuwait Airways Corporation to take measures for uplifting operational capacity and facilitating passengers’ movements at Kuwait International Airport.

It charged the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) to coordinate with the competent authorities to minimize effects of the recent spread of locusts in southern Kuwait and avert its recurrence. The Cabinet decided to task the Ministry of Finance (state properties department) to coordinate with the Ministry of Interior, the Environment Public Authority and PAAAFR to take rapid legal action to prevent fishermen from using chalets in Doha for fishing purposes in Kuwait Bay. Internationally, it decried the recent terrorist attack on a security checkpoint manned by Egyptian government security personnel in Al-Arish, expressing solidarity with Egypt and supporting any measures the Cairo authorities may take to safeguard the country. The government re-affirmed rejection of all forms of hateful violence and terrorism. – KUNA